8/31/15

Michael S. Judge - Every so often a new voice disrupts the silence of sameness, evoking old ghosts and new phantoms with equal surety.In America, history and myth are forced to share the same land. America isn't the answer to impossible questions, just the result of their friction






Michael S. Judge, Lyrics of the Crossing, Fugue State Press, 2014.
read an excerpt
michaelsjudge.wordpress.com


In America, history and myth are forced to share the same land. America isn't the answer to impossible questions, just the result of their friction. We live on terrain permanently ripped between historical malpractice and millennial ambition. We're a myth constantly collapsing into actual atrocities--a dream with the power to kill.
As we export our dreams for the world to consume, the world finds American sleep a hazmat, its half-life apparently eternal. "And even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget / falls drop by drop upon the heart / until, in our own despair, against our will, / comes wisdom through the awful grace of God." Thus Robert Kennedy, misquoting Aeschylus onto the murder of Martin Luther King, two months before his own assassination.
This astonishing novel, vast, visionary, and grieving, is ambitious beyond any we've ever published. It aspires to tapestry the inner life of our American experiment in its three threads: despair, wisdom, and grace. Despair: each individual trauma as a local case of our national pathology. Wisdom: the ineradicable record of our wrongs. Grace, the awful grace of god: a mythic disclosure that cannot lie, though it can destroy. These three strands, and their mangled topology, are Michael S. Judge's "Lyrics of the Crossing."


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Michael S. Judge, ...and Egypt Is the River, Skylight Press, 2013.


...And Egypt Is the River is a collection of mystical prose-poems which the author describes as an attempt, based on the linguistic theories of R.W. Emerson, Ernest Fenollosa, and Hugh Kenner, among others, to trace the evolution of cosmology and myth as derived from a people's immediate sensory experience. In one sense it is an exploration of the genesis of language, the primal utterances that transcend from the physical world of sound denoting object to how images come to bring about self-awareness and fuse shared mythologies; or as the poet would say - "impact that compels words, that collect in fossil tidepools of the skull." Explore the world of Hibou, the experiential, Klang, the experienced, and the 3rd, who oscillates somewhere in between. "Riffs of heightened prose pleasure the senses, with auditory, tactile, and hallucinatory provocations. To endure such a rigorous and sustained assault on the essential poetic metaphors is a fierce initiation. This Egypt of the Mental Traveller is a dream of the true path, subtle and dangerous and undeceived." - Iain Sinclair


Every so often a new voice disrupts the silence of sameness, evoking old ghosts and new phantoms with equal surety. …And Egypt Is the River is a collection of mystical prose-poems which the author describes as an attempt, based on the linguistic theories of R.W. Emerson, Ernest Fenollosa, and Hugh Kenner, among others, to trace the evolution of cosmology and myth as derived from a people’s immediate sensory experience. In one sense it is an exploration of the genesis of language, the primal utterances that transcend from the physical world of sound denoting object to how images come to bring about self-awareness and fuse shared mythologies; or as the poet would say – “impact that compels words, that collect in fossil tidepools of the skull.” Fenollosa’s exploration of Chinese characters and Kenner’s fascination in modernist mechanisms were a big influence on the developing Ezra Pound – and that sort of inspiration is evident in this exciting collection by a new name in contemporary poetry, Michael S. Judge.
Of course, the prose poem goes as far back as ancient Greece and had quite a heyday in 19th Century France and Germany when championed by the likes of Baudelaire, Novalis, Hölderlin and Heine. A relative newcomer to the scene but no stranger to such writerly inspirations, Judge has dabbled in translations of Baudelaire (among others) as well as exploring avant gardist’s lives and perspectives in his upcoming novel, The Scenarists of Europe (forthcoming from Dalkey Archive). But more than just collating a few meaningful prosodies, Judge works a an elaborate theme across his poetic patchwork to the point that …And Egypt is the River could be said to be an experimental novel of sorts, similar to fellow Skylight offerings such as Martin Anderson’s Interlocutors of Paradise, Rikki Ducornet’s The Cult of Seizure, Richard Froude’s The Passenger or Daniel Staniforth’s The Groundlings of Divine Will.  But perhaps the best recent examples of such a literary phenomenon come from Iain Sinclair, author of the recently reissued Lud Heat and Suicide Bridge, whom the author willingly cites as a major influence on his work.  Indeed, Sinclair has offered the following assessment of …And Egypt is the River:
 “Riffs of heightened prose pleasure the senses, with auditory, tactile, and hallucinatory provocations. To endure such a rigorous and sustained assault on the essential poetic metaphors is a fierce initiation. This Egypt of the Mental Traveller is a dream of the true path, subtle and dangerous and undeceived.”
Another visionary British writer and artist, Brian Catling, had this to say:
“If Egypt was a river, then it would eddy and flux, and sinuously expand like MSJ’s hypnotic language. This is something rare and dangerous. Rich, sensuous and edgy, an unfurling scroll or a besotted map, powering Conrad up inside a post colonial Kubla Khan. Let it read you and be transformed.”?
The book invites us to explore the world of Hibou, the experiential, Klang, the experienced, and the 3rd, who oscillates somewhere in between. The reader will embark upon a brave and exploratory work in which he or she will have to embrace a new language, one that evolves as a physiological outgrowth of such a world. In good literary company, Judge deftly manages to dispense with the cloying parameters of time and place and send the reader into a world of strange amalgamated scopes and scapes. Of his work he says coyly – “you could say it takes place in the pharaohs’ Egypt, though it doesn’t; or in Pisistratian Greece, though it doesn’t; or for that matter in Missouri, say around 2666, which it might.”  In a similar fashion to which Iain Sinclair weaves his ‘psychogeography’ Egypt becomes a sand-shifting ideal or a state of being rather than a concrete and historic locale.  Rather like Durrell’s Alexandria, Kerouac’s Road, Barth’s Funhouse, it hints at a potential spirit-state rather than any fixed point – and one well worth co-habiting.
Skylight Press is thrilled to publish And Egypt is the River, the first work of a dynamic young writer that promises much in years to come. - www.iainsinclair.org.uk/2013/09/24/new-book-and-egypt-is-the-river-by-michael-s-judge/


...and Egypt is the River is quite like a series of cave paintings. It can be imagined that it was created in the shifting light that traces the turns of the walls. Therefore, it should be read in such a dancing half-light and observed from the perspective of its ongoing formation. It would help to let your eyes bounce amongst the structures for the creation of new silhouettes. It would not be helpful with this book to go back and read any sentence twice to make sure that you understood it. In fact, if you accidentally skip a line, it may be imperative that you never read those words and assume that the structure of the book is just as you read it. If you find that you come to your wits at the end of a paragraph, realizing that you have only been thinking about a newly formed freckle on your arm or the neighbors fighting, you have likely realized an important aspect of the work. You will never find meaning if you are so concrete in being. But, finding this book by Michael S. Judge enjoyable, I like to let myself run a little wild and see where I end up. ...and Egypt is the River is a well written and original work of literature. - matthew long 


Interview here


… And Egypt is the River, 2011. Published 2013, Skylight Press.
Lyrics of the Crossing, 2012. Published 2014, Fugue State Press.
The Scenarists of Europe, 2011. Published 2015, Dalkey Archive.
Index, 2012.
Heaven 1945, 2012.
Fracture Maps, Citizen, Hieroglyphs of Witness (triptych), 2013.
Ubixic, 2013. First chapter, posted by Mutable Sound.
Anubis in Jerusalem, 2013-14.
Corporum, 2014.
Pleiades, 2014.
Tehom, 2014.
Denominator’s Hive, 2015.
Larvae, 2015.
Oedipus the King, work in progress.


3 poems


Michael S. Judge was born in 1987 in Kansas City, MO.  He grew up in an Irish Catholic enclave in Kansas City, MO and was taught and terrified by Jesuits, much as per Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man.  He spent his adolescence in a basement making records, some of which still exist, and then went to Texas to study music.  Blake, Eliot, Joyce, and Pynchon made him want to write; Ezra Pound, Djuna Barnes and Iain Sinclair showed him that it was possible.  He was very briefly employed by Purdue University, after which he says he spent about a year “in disintegration.” He’s been in Texas since 2011 writing.
Judge has written several novels as well as translating Charles Baudelaire and Dante, among others.  Skylight Press will soon publish …And Egypt is the River, which will be followed by The Scenarists of Europe (due out from Dalkey Archive in 2014). His version of Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal will be published by Fugue State sometime in the next year or so, and he’s just finished a new translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy, which he says “will probably be published in 2099 by a group of blind animals who’ll print it on the side of a plastic replica mountain in Utah.”
Not confined to pen and ink Judge is also a multi-instrumentalist and generator of various interesting indie music projects, including The Wolf Tickets, Jerusalem, Sinthome and most recently, The Nerve Institute. In a 2012 review on prog-sphere the latter was described as “a project that makes surreal and dense, yet quaint, charming music.”  Similar praise could be made of his imaginative and unique poetry and Skylight Press is thrilled to introduce it to the world.




Much like Toby Driver’s maudlin of the Well, The Nerve Institute is a project that makes surreal and dense, yet quaint, charming music. A one man ordeal from Mike Judge (presumably not the one of Beavis And Butthead fame), I am glad to have come across an album from a new artist that doesn’t give itself all up at once. As the name may suggest, ‘Architects Of Flesh Density’ is a strange album with unexpected turns, verging on the avant- garde, yet drawing enough conventional flair to keep people from losing their minds. The album may be difficult to explain all in one review, but I’ll try.
To set up a foundation of this project’s sound, this is a largely keyboards driven album, although everything from guitars to violins and saxophones pop in at one point or another. Also prevalent is the voice of Judge himself, sounding alot like Neal Morse, formerly of Spock’s Beard. With this baseline binding the songs together, the songs each have their own twists to make them distinct. A fair example of this would be on the album’s second song, ‘Prussian Blue Persuasion’, in which an exotic violin is used to give the music an extra spice. Instrumentally, Judge’s forte is with the keyboards, and I may be inclined to say it sounds like he has a background in jazz music from the way he plays.
The music could be well labelled as eclectic avant-rock, although Judge’s vocals lend a much more accessible vibe to the music. As I have said, his voice is very similar to that of Neal Morse; warm, not technically accomplished yet melodic and personable. In a way, this contrasts the instrumentation, which is not all that melodic, and would be called ‘weird’ any day before being melodic and intimate. The album does take several listens to digest, and if anything can be said for The Nerve Institute, it’s that Mike Judge put in much time and effort into making the album as good as it could be. This is highly inventive music, although I do get the impression that The Nerve Institute’s music gets a little too detached for its own good, wandering off into space without much regard for the listener. Of course, this meandering feeling (that gets emphasized towards the second half of the album) offers a surreal vibe to the album that compliments it, as far as its atmosphere is concerned.
Details aside, ‘Architects Of Flesh Density’ is a strange album from a strange project.
- www.prog-sphere.com/reviews/the-nerve-institute-architects-of-flesh-density/



Michael S. Judge, Scenarists of Europe, Dalkey Archive Press, 2016.


Between World Wars I and II, three expatriate Americans attempt to reconstruct a vision of the fractured Europe they’ve been forced to occupy; meanwhile, in the near future, a nameless narrator wanders the desolation of the United States, looking for (and dreading to find) any sign of life. But where the normal historical novel treats the past like the present, The Scenarists of Europe deals in the actual form of the past – corrupted files and incomplete documents, static tableaux and broken images, between which we must imagine the connections – and, in the process, constructs a dreamlike critique of the transmission of history, the empire-building ambitions of modernism, and the ahistorical wilderness of the world’s last superpower.
This experimental novel’s torrent of language creates a dark and unsettling apocalyptic world.
An epigraph from Djuna Barnes’ verse play, The Antiphon, sets the stage for this unusual and subversive third novel from Judge (Lyrics of the Crossing, 2014, etc.): “Say I was of home so utterly bereft, / I dug me one, and pushed my terror in.” The novel bears some resemblance to William T. Vollmann’s Europe Central with its j’accuse intensity but without the historical grounding, and stylistically, it’s something else altogether. We are confronted with decadent, lavishly descriptive prose and poetry hurled at us, portraying something out of a Brothers Quay film. This inferno of a book is set between World War I and II—its three sections are called Before Europe, During America, and After Europe. It’s a road trip of cities and states (London, Florida, Hammondsport, Fargo, St. Louis, etc.) as seen by the “scenarists,” three expatriate Americans, Djuna, Tom, and Ezra, and an “I” called “Patient.” A devastating conflagration has taken place. Functioning as journalist watchers confronting a damaged humanity, they record an unending tableau of grotesque images reminiscent of Joel-Peter Witkin photographs: “piles of worn vultures” are mountains; a dwarf’s leg is a “twist of rotted wood”; and Beckett-ian “figures” that hide, lay “folded or at length in canisters under the street like tanks of obsolete poison.” The trip seems to owe something to the psychogeography school of fiction inhabited by Will Self and Iain Sinclair, where the abstract is conveyed via accumulated, concrete images. Imagine Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities—with its cities dead, hidden, continuous—on steroids, where “words weld to words along a seam of amputated meaning.” Describing the book is problematic and ultimately probably useless. Judicious editing would have helped and yet it seemingly revels in its excess, steadfastly refusing to bow down to any conventional fictional tropes.
It’s not for everyone, but for those willing to take the hyperbolic, meditative trip, it will stimulate, confuse, and exhaust. - Kirkus Reviews












8/21/15

Akademie X: Lessons In Art + Life - Their advice ranges from practical considerations about making art and managing professional relationships, to ideological perspectives on the nature of learning and the state of art education in the twenty-first century



Akademie X: Lessons In Art + Life, Designed and illustrated by Julia Hasting, Phaidon, 2015.


Crucial wisdom from leading artists and writers – an unprecedented insight into 21st–century knowledge production and life as an artist today. - Hans Ulrich Obrist

Akademie X is a book with seemingly all of the answers. - Interview Magazine

Akademie X's world-class tutors prepare aspiring artists for professional life - in practical, financial, and ideological terms. - Garage Magazine

an enormous book the colour of a tube of Love Hearts... Not often does a book look this succulent: the weight, texture and little details were enough to have the whole editorial team cooing over it. ...Spectacular original content aside, what makes this book truly sing is its design. It’s got that exciting, fresh new stationery feel to it: the card casing taking you back to those document wallets you used in school. ...beautiful - itsnicethat.com

Fancy doing an art degree, but not sure if it's right for you? A new book from Phaidon, Akademie X: Lessons In Art + Life, might just be able to help you out...
According to its introduction, Akademie X, is "an art school without walls", and takes the form of a series of lessons, all delivered by some of the most famous and successful artists working today. Marina Abramović starts us off and is followed by chapters from 35 other artists, including Ólafur Elíasson, Dan Graham, Miranda July, Wangechi Mutu, Tim Rollins, and Richard Wentworth.
Each artist has been given freedom to present their ideas and advice in their own style, which leads to an enjoyably rich collection of voices, some personal and chatty, others serious and academic. Abramović chooses to be listy, giving a series of instructions, many of which are contradictory or employ repetition for emphasis. For example, in the opening list on 'An artist's conduct in his life', she states:
– An artist should not lie to himself or to others
– An artist should not steal ideas from other artists
– An artist should not compromise himself with regard to the art market
– An artist should not kill other human beings
– An artist should not make himself into an idol
– An aritst should not make himsel into an idol
– An artist should not make himself into an idol

Some texts take the form of interviews with the artists, others are letters. Elíasson chooses to pen a 'LOVE LETTER' no less, written alongside his colleagues Eric Ellingsen and Christina Werner from the 'Institut für Raumexperimente', a five-year educational research project which ended last year. Their advice includes performing various exercises to encourage 'thinking doing', which they describe as an awareness of our place as "an agent in the world".
A number of chapters are reflective, with the artists looking back on their lives and what the twists and turns of their experiences have taught them about art. Others are just confusing, a little impenetrable: most texts offer a fair reflection of the work of those who have written them, so if you find someone's work elusive, the chances are you'll find their lesson similarly tough going.
Perhaps as useful as the texts themselves are the recommended reading (and occasionally viewing, listening and even drinking) lists that each artist provides. Cross reference these and you'll come up with a pretty concise canon of essential critical thinking on contemporary art, plus some great eclectic choices alongside.
As we've come to expect from Phaidon, the book is beautifully designed and each artist's chapter is accompanied with a CV style description of their work to date, plus images. One small quibble is the lack of a short paragraph summing up the style and approach of the artists featured – perhaps this is something they themselves resisted, but it would have been useful for context and to help with the less famous names included, particularly as this is pitched as a teaching book. But then, there is always Wikipedia near to hand.
For potential students of art, Akademie X makes a great introduction to the kind of thinking and approaches that you'll discover at art school, but its appeal isn't just for the studious – there is plenty here for anyone interested in contemporary art and artists to enjoy.
Akademie X: Lessons In Art + Life is available from Phaidon, priced £24.95. More info is here.
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/february/akademie-x-lessons-in-art-life

A few weeks back, an enormous book the colour of a tube of Love Hearts landed on my desk. It was Akademie X: Lessons in Life an Art. Not often does a book look this succulent: the weight, texture and little details were enough to have the whole editorial team cooing over it. Published by Phaidon, it’s a collection of lessons written by artists such a Miranda July, Katharina Grosse, Walead Beshty, Marina Abramovic, Tim Rollins, John Stezaker and many others.
Spectacular original content aside, what makes this book truly sing is its design. It’s got that exciting, fresh new stationery feel to it: the card casing taking you back to those document wallets you used in school. The way the text is laid out is also reminiscent of lessons, and learning: it’s like a really, really concise bundle of research for a prize winning project. On top of that, each artist has been drawn in charming, pencil crayon portraits by the designer herself and the creative director of Phaidon Press, Julia Hasting.
For more than a decade, award-winning Julia has been designing dozens of award-winning titles on art, architecture, photography, design, and cooking, and – since the year 2000 – art directed hundreds of titles for Phaidon. She has also been a contributing illustrator to The New York Times since 2003. Such a beautiful new book deserves some more in-depth explanation, so here’s Julia on the process of putting together such an appealing publication merging art and design in holy union.
How did Akademie X come into your life?
As the creative director of Phaidon Press I suggest the designers for future titles on the upcoming seasonal publication lists. I usually choose whether to commission a designer or design agency for a specific title or whether to design the book myself. This new title was on the list and given its complexity and my interest in the subject matter I chose to take the project on personally.
The book idea was originated by one of the commissioning editors, and the editorial development of such a project is an ongoing process. My involvement in such projects is frequently more than just design concept and layout as there are a lot of conceptual alignments between the editorial part and the design. Even something like the title of the book has to work well with the design concept (in this case, I named the book — Akademie X).
“The book operates like a student’s personal lessons folder, with the collected images and texts from each tutor assembled in a string-closed cardboard binder. The overall aesthetic—materials, typography, colours, and structure—is inspired by office filing folders.” - Julia Hasting
What did you reference in terms of the design? Can you take us through the process of making this book look as amazing as it does?
My design concept is an open format collection of illustrated lessons in art, philosophy, and life by 36 world famous “tutors” teaching at Akademie X. The book operates like a student’s personal lessons folder, with the collected images and texts from each tutor assembled in a string-closed cardboard binder. The overall aesthetic—materials, typography, colours, and structure—is inspired by office filing folders, although the individual nature of each lesson invited different styles.

The sample artworks by the tutors as well as the images relevant to each lesson are treated as if glued directly into the binder’s colour coded pages (each tutor has its own specific background colour). The collected texts by the curators (which I chose to feature in a wide range of different typefaces to communicate the different styles of the source materials) are also presented as if directly attached to the binder’s pages. Biographies are treated as filled-in charts and are accompanied by loose, almost doodle-like portraits that the student might have created during each lesson while listening to the tutor.

Juliahasting-akademiex5-int
It’s rare for a creative to be commissioned to design and illustrate in the book – how did you end up doing both things?
I chose to do the illustrations myself because the style I envisioned for them had to fit exactly the overall design concept that I had developed. I illustrate and sketch a lot and as illustration is one of my passions I decided to create the drawings myself. If there was a specific style of illustration I needed for this project I could have commissioned someone else to do that. But my idea of an imaginary “art student” making straightforward sketches of her tutors into her lesson binder fit my own doodling habits.
I had first considered the use of photography for the artists’ portraits but sketches fitted the overall design concept much better, as they feel more personal and open and create a better contrast to the artworks and lessons that are featured.
“All artists were carefully chosen by Phaidon editors for their specific expertise, knowledge and personal philosophy on art and life. Each of these 36 ‘tutors’ has provided a unique lesson that aims to provoke, inspire and stimulate.” - Julia Hasting
Tell us about the artists in Akademie X, why you chose them, and what the book aims to do?
All artists were carefully chosen by Phaidon editors for their specific expertise, knowledge and personal philosophy on art and life. Each of these 36 “‘tutors” has provided a unique lesson that aims to provoke, inspire and stimulate. Lively, entertaining and poignant, the contributors draw on their extensive experience in the contemporary art world, to share previously untold stories and identify the crucial things they wish they’d known at the start of their careers.
Their advice ranges from practical considerations about making art and managing professional relationships, to ideological perspectives on the nature of learning and the state of art education in the twenty-first century. Many also propose “assignments” to spark creative thinking and the entries are illustrated with visually compelling art works to engage and inspire the reader.
Who would you like to enjoy this book?
Aspiring arts professionals, everyone with an interest in the lives of artists, anyone with an interest in art, culture and education in art. 

Juliahasting-akademiex-int
Juliahasting-akademiex6-int

Juliahasting-akademiex3-int
- Liv Siddall

Billed by the co-director of Serpentine Galleries as “an unprecedented insight into 21st-century knowledge production and life as an artist today”, I did not need to ask the staff in my local Waterstones to remove its plastic wrapper: I needed to read it.
Once I had negotiated its tied notebook-like covers, it revealed itself instead as 36 lessons by contemporary university teachers of art (in its own words “the finest faculty of arts educators”) best intended to prepare someone about to start art school or college. Each ‘lesson’ consists of the teacher’s CV, their drawn portrait, a spread illustrating their work, several pages of their lesson, and assigned reading (etc.).
Marina Abramovič’s opening lesson is probably the least useful in the book, and for me got the whole thing off to an unfortunate start. Even before she delivers over three pages of repetitious mantras, I was bemused to see her list honorary doctorates under her CV heading of Training, a note of pretentiousness which appears sporadically throughout. I also wondered whether I would really want my 17 year old daughter being instructed to “be erotic” three times, when once should be worrying enough.
Thankfully lessons improved considerably after that. Walead Beshty’s brief discussion on aesthetics seemed to start part-way through the subject, dance a few small circles, then fizzle out, and is but a shadow of Arthur Shimamura’s introductory paper in Aesthetic Science (ed. Shimamura and Palmer, Oxford UP, 2014), for example. But it did at least contain some challenging ideas.
Most of the lessons are written around personal anecdote, rather than any analytic or synthetic processes, and their titles are as patchy as their content: from LOVE LETTER from us to In Pittsburgh. Although there are some gems, no attempt has been made to balance their eclectic content into a sensible curriculum. For example, the most detailed information given about money seems to be Carol Bove’s terse “Becoming an artist is not a good business plan.”
There is no practical advice on how to enter competitions, obtain grants, or even patrons. Being anecdotal, much advice given may have been pertinent at the time that the teacher experienced it, but little attempt is made to provide practical advice for the present. Some lessons are given in the format of questions and answers from an interview, others are more like the chapters of a book, and a couple appear slapdash.
Bob Nickas takes the opportunity to take a shot at Marina Abramovič; although not the first time that contributors to a book have argued with one another inside its pages, it illustrates the near-random collation of content. One of the book’s best points is offered in the last line of Tim Rollins’ lesson: “I believe artists should sing on a daily basis”, whilst Christopher Williams offers “you shouldn’t make anything you can’t carry through the door yourself.” If only a few more artists had followed that advice.
In contrast to the almost random nature of its content, the book’s design is coherent and pleasant, with good use of colour to make lessons distinct from one another. Disappointingly for a publisher renowned for its many books containing superb colour illustrations, those here are not shown to their best advantage, as a result of the paper and print process, and are generally small and tempting rather than useful for study.
Citations for further reading, watching, and listening are patchy and highly personal; some would be eminently suitable to encourage bright minds to think further. However the majority of the books and papers proposed for further reading are hard to get, out of print, or originally written in a language other than English (and some do not appear to be available in translation).
Perhaps the most startling absence from this book are online resources. A couple of the lessons include single links, and one offers a handful, but those are exceptions. I also did not notice a single reference to a book available from the iTunes store, or for Kindle. This is a remarkable oversight which perhaps reflects the lack of engagement in the outside world by these teachers.
So at the end of all this, do I feel that I have enjoyed the promised ‘unprecedented insight’? No, I think the book is overambitious in its aims, and falls far short of achieving them. In its smug post-modernist cleverness, it has forgotten the benefits of good editing, coherence, and co-ordination. A far better tool might be Jake Auerbach’s splendid movie The Last Art Film, for example. But dipped into occasionally it does have some fascinating content; if only it had been edited properly and priced for its intended market.
One last thing: there is no index, making it very hard to locate those scattered nuggets. - eclecticlight.co/2015/02/07/book-review-akademie-x-lessons-in-art-life/

www.juliahasting.com

Claude Ollier - A French engineer's journey into uncharted Moroccan mountains forms the action of this important exemplar of the nouveau roman. As Lassalle confronts the natives and negotiates the terrain, struggling to match endless trails and gullies to the crisscrossings on his maps, his feelings of alienation and anxiety intensify to produce a powerfully hallucinatory novel

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Claude Ollier, The Mise-en-Scene, Dalkey Archive Press, 2000. [1958.]


'First published in France in 1958 and winner of the prestigious Prix Medecis, The Mise-en-Scene takes place in the mountains of Morocco when the French still controlled North Africa. An engineer named Lassalle has been sent from France to plan a road through the mountains. Although Lassalle seems to be successful, he finds out that another engineer, Lessing, has preceded him, and that Lessing, as well as others, may have been murdered. In part a detective novel and in part an investigation into the nature of knowledge, The Mise-en-Scene is controlled by a tone and style that are truly remarkable.'

A French engineer's journey into uncharted Moroccan mountains forms the action of this important exemplar of the nouveau roman, awarded the Prix Medicis in 1958. As the title indicates, Lassalle's missionfinding a road site to reach a mineis played out in the sinister ""theater'' of colonial mistrust and violence. Fatigued by migraines, sore throats and bruises, Lassalle is first escorted by the French military who rule in North Africa, and later by two Algerian guides, the blue-eyed Serjeant Ba Iken and the mute boy Ichou. In the sullen heat, the sense of menace thickens: a young woman, Jamila, has been stabbed to death by her husband. Her image keeps recurring to Lassalle, as he confuses her with a living girl, Yamina. The authorities seem as cynically indifferent to the crime as they do to the disappearance only days before of another engineer, Lassalle's predecessor, Lessing. Was he murdered? Was his death linked to Jamila's? As Lassalle confronts the natives and negotiates the terrain, struggling to match endless trails and gullies to the crisscrossings on his maps, his feelings of alienation and anxiety intensify to produce a powerfully hallucinatory novel. - Publishers Weekly

excerpt:





It is not impossible to imagine ... a novel whose fiction would be exciting enough so that the reader intensely felt the desire to know its last word which precisely, at the last minute, would be denied to him, the text pointing to itself and towards a rereading. The book would be thus, a second time, given to the reader who could then while rereading it, discover everything in it which in his first mad fever he had been unable to find. - Benoit Peeters

The photo is still famous. Signed Mario Dondero, it shows the writers of the Nouveau Roman, taken in 1959 on rue Bernard Palissy, before the offices of Editions de Minuit. Claude Ollier, who died Saturday, October 18, 2014 at the age of 91, was the last survivor of the team of eight authors immortalized that day -- the movement itself is now left entirely in the hands of its two surviving proponents, Michel Butor and Jean Ricardou.
However Ollier's unclassifiable work, having been nourished by an exploration of many different genres, must not be reduced or completely assimilated to this literary trend.
 A year before the famous photograph was taken, in 1958, Claude Ollier had published his first novel, Mise-en-Scene. It was immediately awarded the Prix Médicis, which had just been created: the story of a French engineer sent to France for the care of the construction of a road in the Moroccan Atlas, who discovers the mysterious disappearance of several of his predecessors.
 The context was inspired by Ollier's stay in Morocco, in 1950, as an official of the administration Sharifian in the High Atlas and in Casablanca, where he kept a diary and began to write short stories, and where his dream vocation as a writer was affirmed.
Born in Paris in 1922, the writer Claude Ollier had studied at the Lycee Carnot prewar, and he received a philosophy degree in Montlucon in 1940. Then followed law studies and a management position at the École des Hautes Études Commerciales.
Sent to Germany by the STO in 1943, he fled before being taken hostage near Lake Constance and shipped in Swabia. After the war, he worked in insurance, then as official. After 1958, he finally left public service to devote himself to writing.
Ollier's second book, Le Maintien de l’ordre, was rejected by publisher Jérôme Lindon in 1960 and was published a year later by Gallimard. In 1963, he published Été indien, with Minuit. He then wrote radio plays, and the respected novel cycle of Jeu d’enfant, whose four books were published from 1972 to 1975. In 1967, he published with Gallimard L’Échec de Nolan et Navettes, and Mon Double in 1979-81, inspired by a trip to Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia in 1977.
Car trips were a central part and major inspiration of Ollier's life and work: United States, Germany, Quebec, and Marrakech in the 1960s and 1970s; Europe and Morocco still in the 1980s; Australia and New Zealand in 1990; and finally Jordan. Also beginning in the late 1960s, Ollier for a short time worked as an actor in films, most famously in Robert Bresson's masterwork Un Femme Douce (1969).
In December 1997 he was elected into Écrivains à Paris, and a symposium in honor of his work, which at that point numbered nearly fifty books, was held in Paris. He subsequently launched into writing the novel cycle "quatre récits de couleur mythologique", which was published by Editions POL between the years 2000 and 2007. A tireless traveler, Claude Ollier lived in Provence and Marrakech before settling in Maule in the Yvelines, where he lived until his death. In 2013, he published his last book book, Cinq contes fantastiques (POL), which was nicely subtitled: "Choses vues de ma fenêtre au deuxième étage de la maison." -- Sabine Audrerie
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Claude Ollier, Wert and the Life Without End, Trans. by Ursula Meany Scott, Dalkey Archive Press, 2011.

In some kind of institution, maybe a hospital or rehabilitation center, we are introduced to Wert, a disturbed, traumatized man still suffering the horrors of his experience as a soldier fighting in an unidentified conflict. A patient or prisoner, Wert writes down his memories of the war; his impressions of his current, ill-defined treatment; and his reflections on his own psychological well-being. When at last released, Wert undertakes a long journey to the east, and slowly recognizes the events of his life as being reminiscent of episodes from ancient epic narratives—as though his entire story has simply been the reenactment of a tale first told thousands of years before. Chipping away at its narrative through short, rhythmic, poetic sentences; combining the worlds of the avant-garde and the ancient epic; and revealing the interconnectedness of psychology, lived experience, and the written word, Wert and the Life Without End is a masterpiece of self-reflective storytelling.

“Ollier explores the dividing line between past and present, the fault line of postwar European consciousness, still in a state of shock in the midst of evidence of its recent history, still recovering, semi-expectant and above all watchful. In bidding memory, as after Nabokov, to speak, one will also, in Ollier’s world, have to answer to it, this requirement being as explicit a statement of the inherent hopefulness of narrative as one might look for in a fallen and betrayed civilization.” - Choice

“Using the structural device of contrast—particularly light and darkness—he works with words as a composer works with tonal patterns, producing a verbal symphony of distinctive beauty.” - Anna Otten


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Claude Ollier, Law and Order, Trans. by Ursule Molinaro, Red Dust, 1971.

A man waits to be killed in a town by the sea, probably in North Africa. His room is
described, the sound of the elevator, its vibrations, the light at different hours, the shifting positions of the men waiting below for him who follow him in their Buick, slowly at a distance, then so close that only their faces are visible in his rearview mirror. Chronology is jumbled. It is never certain when and whether he is apprehended. The climax is all through the story. The reader constructs his own story, his own terror.


Most interesting, however, are the textual developments and transformations that take place. ...the initial paragraph furnishes key motifs for two focal segments of the text-- "The sudden vast glistening brightness..." and "Raw, intense, blinding light" the first a textual correlative of fear-- the second, of scandal" -- Leon Roudiez

Using the structural device of contrast - particularly light and darkness- he works with words as a composer works with tonal patterns, producing in Law and Order a verbal symphony of distinctive beauty -- Anna Otten


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Claude Ollier, Disconnection, Trans. by Dominic Di Bernardi, Dalkey Archive Press, 1989.

In two interconnected, alternating stories, Claude Ollier has written a disturbing, haunting, apocalyptic novel that brings together the end of the Third Reich with the closing of the twentieth century. The first is the autobiographical story of Martin, a French student conscripted into a munitions factory in Nuremberg in the middle of World War II. The other is the story of a nameless writer who inhabits a twilight world where civilization has collapsed.
In the first part, we see the horrors of war-torn Germany from the perspective of the common man. Caught up in the moment of history that has defined the twentieth century, he is "disconnected" from the time in which he lives. As the war comes to a close, he experiences the firebombing of Nuremberg, and then escapes the city, finally meeting with the first of the American liberation forces in the spring of 1945.
In the second part, which takes place in the remote Causse region of France sometime in the 1990s, we see a man living in a world that seems to have undergone some terrible, nameless catastrophe. Civilization has come to an eerie halt, its remnants held by this solitary figure, usually in the form of remembered performances by musicians from Richard Strauss and Wagner to Tina Turner and Miles Davis.
Ollier has here created a nightmarish vision of Western culture in decay. At the same time, he has created a vision of history and the individual's inability to connect himself to the times in which he lives.

"The writing is concise, restrained, meticulous. Claude Ollier masterfully interweaves the evocations that mark memories: the German forest and the neglected causse, flames of city blazes and scents of plants after a shower, the din of air raids and silence of a dying countryside, a sleepy village and a great city bowed under the nighttime menace. At times, without bombast, the tone attains an epic loftiness; all of Europe is trembling in the shadows of the war. . . . The century drawing to a close strangely resembles the Third Reich in its death throes. . . . Without betraying himself, without renouncing what has always made up the originality of his impressive art, Claude Ollier raises the great question of our times: Where are we going?" - L'Humanitè

"The moral and psychic disjunctions occasioned by World War II have long been the source of much of Europe's best fiction. In Germany, it is the novelistic terrain of Gunter Grass and Heinrich Boll, in France of Claude Simon, Alain Robbe-Grillet and Claude Ollier. In his latest novel, Mr. Ollier, a major force behind the nouveau roman, a literary movement born out of the Resistance, meditates on Germany's totalitarian past. . . . [F]ull of fine, splintered poetry, Mr. Ollier's aphoristic style has been carefully rendered in Dominic Di Bernardi's skillful translation." - New York Times Book Review

"In his choice of material, Ollier seems to challenge himself to write the ultimate anti-novel—whether that means stripping the greatest icons of the twentieth century of meaning through the force of literary technique, or breathing life into the New Novel by forcing its structure, to treat events of profound significance. . . . Ollier cannot talk of concentration camps, Nazism and the construction of warheads without provoking emotional response in his readers, without causing them, in short, to identify with Martin and (remarkably, for the genre) to turn him into an individual." - San Francisco Review of Books

Ollier explores the dividing line between past and present, the fault line of postwar European consciousness, still in a state of shock in the midst of evidence of its recent history, still recovering, semi-expectant and above all watchful. In bidding memory, as after Nabokov, to speak, one will also, in Ollier's world, have to answer to it, this requirement being as explicit a statement of the inherent hopefulness of narrative as one might look for in a fallen and betrayed civilization." - Choice


A veteran of the French "Nouveau Roman," Ollier ( The Mis-en-Scene ) has deliberately employed an unpolished, often oblique style to deal with the incomprehensible: life after a Third (one assumes nuclear) World War. The author builds his novel around two narratives. The first, told in the third person, concerns Martin, a young Frenchman mobilized by the Germans at the end of WW II to work in a munitions factory in Nuremburg. The second, set in the 1990s, is recounted by a nameless French writer living in a small village, listlessly writing a radio play that will never be broadcast. The stories of these two men are disconnected by design; while unsure whether the narrator is an older version of the teenage Martin, readers may suspect that Ollier has juxtaposed the stories to create a sort of historical parallel--a WW III hinging on the unresolved conflicts of the previous conflagration. For Martin, the war is a time of community, companionship, danger. The protagonist of the second narrative, passively enduring shortages and a vengeful, encroaching nature, is merely waiting out the end of civilization. In essence, the novel does not project the emotional impact it seems to promise, its disconnected quality mainly due to the author's intentional distance from his material. - Publishers Weekly

At one point today, Christmas Day 2013, I thought perhaps I had had a stroke some time within the last week or two. I would be reading along another four or five pages of Claude Ollier’s book here and there and not know what I read or why I even did it.  The words were simply hollow for me and I was thinking that they shouldn’t be.  Nothing could dissuade me from my thinking the text a bore and inconsequential. There was nothing to engage me and still I felt maybe I had lost something of myself due to my new and potentially quite serious condition. But then I realized this could of course not be true because these same days I have been reading the humungous memoir of Elias Canetti and enjoying every word of it. He is such a good and interesting writer. And then there is Josef Winkler who is daily tearing me up with his The Serf and its awful contents regarding a life so foreign to me but so graphically real and disturbing it makes one cringe too much. My senses must still be intact, and I can still discern relevance, it seems, in a given text presented to me. So what is my problem with this master work?   
I loved the feel of the book itself, its subject matter, the author’s name, the cloth-covered boards, even the title which made it even harder for me to not like the text. I tried my best to like it, I did. But it was dead, the words, and perfectly good words at that but for some reason there wasn’t a sentence that rang true and good for me. On page seventy-nine we are reading the words of the nameless writer in the first person:
Returned, stopping frequently, pushing my bicycle, dead tired, very gloomy. Haven’t moved since. 
It was as if he had a journal and was recording his daily activities so that one day in the future he might extend the shorthand into something palatable and interesting. For over eighty pages I attempted to find my way into the sentences of Claude Ollier and could not. And the blurbs on the dust jacket suggested I would and the critics claimed I had to. But success was not in the cards for me. Finally on page eighty-one I had to give in, give up, and move on. And the page before that was the straw that broke my back. And it wasn’t anything I hadn’t read before. Here we have in the third person words telling the story of Martin. The sentence was the same as all the others. The problem for me was in the telling.  There was no showing, and that is the critical element I need that was missing.  Oh writer, do not tell me about your problem but show it to me. And I will give an example of that page now and you can tell me why I am wrong. Better yet, please don’t. It doesn’t matter. I have no more time allotted or available for this project after my review. 
Disconcerted, Martin walks the whole way, crosses the city for the first time on a weekday morning, goes along Lorenzkirche, Karolinenstrasse, is impressed while entering the immense building where uniformed orderlies, deciphering his paper, on each floor dictate to him the correct procedure.
So why even write this?  Instead of showing me something, making me feel, we have empty adjectives such as immense and uniformed and also a stupid verb the likes of impressed. Honestly, there wasn’t a page I liked or even a sentence that was memorable. And that is rare even in a shitty novel. And I know, I know, this one was supposed to be good. To me, it was if this novel was of an elitist quality and for a crowd I do not belong to. Something written in a way a common man such as myself could not possibly get or understand. Perhaps a book for the most attuned and smartest among us, though I have to doubt it. Seriously. I have the same problem reading poems written by William Butler Yeats. There are references in his poems that I just do not get and his work leaves me feeling flat.  I never studied the classics. I do not know the secret code that might let me in. But, in stark contrast, a writer such as W.G. Sebald writes of places and historical occurrences I know nothing about either but I feel my way through and his words are interesting. His words also mean something to me. And by my lights that is good work, that is art, high art, important art, and full, sound, and relevant to my day.  Sebald refuses to waste my time. He makes me pay a price for reading him. Ollier ultimately gives me nothing so he gets no praise from me.  And in return a bit of indifference to the rest of his work, and little else to make me think or feel otherwise. - M Sarki

"Disconnection" does the unimaginable. It juxtaposes two apocalypses. In alternating stories, Claude Ollier presents the end of the world twice in one century--our own.
The first vision is realistic, almost prosaic: A German student witnesses the end of World War II. Through the hardships and bombings, daily life goes on. The worker goes to the factory, the bureaucracy cranks away.
The second vision is in the future, perhaps only a few years from now. Some unnamed catastrophe has occurred. A lone man performs the routines of daily life; he has no sense that his existence is connected to anything, and no certainty that sense will be restored. He works on a play as an exercise for maintaining sanity; the piece may never be performed. As he works, he remembers the arts circle to which he once belonged. His memories are the only fragments left of the lost world.
The horror in each story is total, but completely different. The ultimate horror, however, lies in the suspicion that inevitably grows within the reader: These two voices may in fact be the same man. Can a single human being bear two apocalypses? - Sonja Bolle


Cecile Lindsay: I have always been struck by the absence of the Second World War and the Algerian War in your fictions.
Claude Ollier: If we exempt the fleeting and marginal “return” to European soil in L’Echec de Nolan, as phantomlike, muffled, nocturnal, and haunted by bad memories and nightmares, then all the other books are situated outside of Europe and far from Europe, farther and farther. On the one hand, it became almost impossible to “think” lucidly about what had been that sort of self-destruction of Europe between 1930 and 1945; on the other hand, it is clear that what is important in the evolution of the world since then is no longer taking place there. The obstinate and persevering hero of Le Jeu d’enfant senses and knows it from the beginning; it is the terrible knowledge acquired in adolescence, an admitted, outmoded fact of which he will never speak; the Second World War destroyed all he had been taught, humanism included, along with his whole inherited childhood universe. He is trying bravely, ingenuously perhaps, to take everything back to zero, in the beginning of La Mise en scene just as the book’s author tries, by a sort of narrative tabula rasa, to take back to square one all the elements of narration: observation of a country, a civilization, a foreign language, an unknown story. And all the primordial questions are asked there in a single movement: what is seeing, hearing, interpreting, exploring, reflecting, remembering, dreaming, writing, speaking? His instruction begins again, his life is reeducated elsewhere, on an “exotic” soil, extra-muros, far from the ruins of his childhood and his native land, far from the other side of the walls of a Europe whose Second World War culminated in a sort of cultural suicide. This war was for him the equivalent of that inaugural catastrophe that the hero of so many science fiction tales has trouble remembering or measuring but that conditions the entirety of his new universe. For him, it is as though this catastrophe “upstream” could not be recounted. And he tries anew to see, to tell, to write, having come into contact with foreign languages unknown to him—languages which, by their difference from his own, will allow him to look upon his mother tongue differently and to use it anew.
CL: A strong current in American literary criticism and critical theory of recent years has been a call for a more “political” approach to both writing literature and writing about literature. Experimental fiction has often been critiqued for what is seen as its “hyperformalism.” Were this charge to be made about your writing, how would you respond?
CO: I would answer that this accusation, which is superficial and banal, rests upon a regrettable lack of reflection on the question of language and of its relation to the body; upon the question of form and of the evolution of forms; and, more generally, upon any question that is epistemological, philosophical, or aesthetic in nature. Or I would answer, more simply, that those who make this charge have probably not read the books of which they claim to speak. For to use the term experimental is to misconstrue completely the very nature and practice of the act of writing such as they are manifested in books like mine. My work has absolutely nothing to do with “experimentation.” In the exact, scientific sense of the term, experimentation consists of isolating certain elements and conducting upon them duly controlled experiments, systematic manipulations, skillful alterations. I have nothing against this kind of work, and some of its results can be interesting and instructive. But my kind of intervention in respect to language and narrative forms has nothing to do with that. You could even say that it is the opposite: indeed, genuine experimentation necessarily tries as much as possible to eliminate chance, while my whole practice consists in provoking, in narrative invention, the greatest possible degree of chance, soliciting at every moment the irruption of elements which are more or less diffuse, forgotten, or firmly buried within the unconscious. I can only write, can only feel the pleasure of writing, if I reconnect with past emotions. I have an absolute need in the beginning for a precise setting, a setting in which I have lived; I need it so that the sensations, perceptions, and emotions can flow. Even on an “imaginary” planet, my writing can function only if it is plugged into memories, dreams, and intuitions. The phantasmic scenes of Epsilon and Enigma are closely derived from lived scenes from the recent or distant past. This is what I call the anchorage of a fiction. Everything in my texts arrives there by way of this anchorage in a place, by way of the paths, the journeys, the adventures, the dramas linked to this place. This is the source of the elan which allows for the development of a story: this story is launched on emotional traces, that is, on the reviviscence of the body’s displacements in a space known and forgotten, and on linkings of synesthetic, kinesthetic sensations whose recall and inscription in adequate terms regroup all the other sensations—visual, auditory, tactile. And for me the auditory sensations are much more important than the visual ones; the sounds connected with a place evoke that place for me, years later, much better than images: the tape recording is by far superior to photography. The tracing of lines is linked up to this play of recall and resurgences; the words, sentences, paragraphs, and blanks between lines must be fused by the permanence of this elan.
Each day, I start out on an impulse of this sort, which may only last a few minutes or can sometimes stretch out into several hours, but when I no longer feel its action within me, I know there is no point in insisting because there is no longer any vital necessity to continue, and it is only for that that I write. This necessity must be inscribed in each word, between the words, palpably. Only then can the reader feel an emotion of the same nature and force. If a sentence fails to transmit the emotion, it’s no good, it must be rejected or transformed. This work of palpable re-creation thus takes place through work upon forms: of vocabulary, of syntax, of typical and coded narrative formulas. This implies a putting into form of assonances, of relations of sonority, of rhythms, of silences, of the tempo intended for each piece. Here it is principally a question of music, a music of the text which is composed a bit like a musical score; I listen to it, I play it to myself, play it again, modify it, listen again, until the “musical phrase” is perfect, untouchable. If this work upon forms is called “hyperformalism,” then Bach, Schubert, Cervantes, Debussy, Rabelais, Flaubert, Bartok, Henry James, Proust and many others are remarkable hyperformalists.
It could be added that the necessity of an evolution of forms is inscribed within the exhaustion resulting from the prolonged use of these forms. By dint of being endlessly repeated, such forms become cliches, forms emptied of emotion. It is in order to reactivate emotive reactions (which form the basis of all the others— argumentative, critical, ethical) and to produce new ones that writers, musicians, and painters periodically “disconnect” from an ambient academicism diffused and lauded by the media, and compose works which appear to be completely apart, completely marginal and unassimilable. But these works create, there, a new poetics, and I would willingly speak of poetics in relation to my books, which are not novels. Finally, this necessity of disconnection and upheaval always rejoins at a certain point a sort of irrepressible curiosity, submitted to a mysterious logic of plastic transformations, and linked to meaning, to the relation of the body to meaning and form. All this, which should be developed point by point, clearly has nothing to do with the activity of some experimental laboratory.
CL: What are the “politics of fiction” in France in recent years? Why do we see a resurgence of more conventional novelistic forms and a rejection, from some quarters, of experimentation in fiction?
CO: I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “politics of fiction.” Who enunciates, advocates, or applies this “politics”? What I know of are fashions, which are launched or sustained by the modem media and which are in a state of constant disjunction in respect to stages of creation such as they are lived by writers. By disjunction I mean a delay. I think that there was a remarkable series of narrative innovations in France after the end of the Second World War. One can study this series historically and formally, analyzing its currents, works, filiations, and influences. One can also, if one has the taste for it, study its echo (if there is one) in the media of the same period. One will note that the delay in providing information, to say nothing of analysis and criticism, is between two and ten years. And the principal objective of the accumulated power of the media is, today, to blur and confuse the paths, to tend to efface them, retaining only one slim trace for show, while awaiting the next show. This volatilization of reality takes place on a large scale and is motivated by the quest for quick sales and high ratings. All of this could give the impression of a “resurgence” of the traditional novel. But it has no more “resurged” now than it had foundered in the era of the New Novel, from 1955 to 1960. It has been in good health for the last forty years, and that’s perfectly normal. Every era is marked by a very major conservative current and a very minor innovative current. What characterizes a given era is the particular difference, the singular gap that it reveals between these two currents. The gap can be rather minimal in certain eras and considerable in others. It has tended to grow, in my opinion, over the last half-century, to a great extent because of the Second World War, all of whose consequences in the cultural domain have not yet been weighed by most of our contemporaries. And also because of the fact that in all the compartments of social life, evolution since the beginning of the century has been extremely sudden and rapid and unexpected, surprising everyone, creating in every domain—technological, military, political, ethical- enormous simultaneous upheavals which could not have been avoided, abated, attenuated. One submitted to them and continues to submit to their full force; one is obliged to adapt, and one adapts badly. So our Western society today strives to preserve intact the cultural sector and, above all, that of the narrative: it is absolutely imperative that this vital activity—the auto narrativity of a society, the “representation,” if you will, or the “recitation” of this society to itself—remain sheltered from this wave of questioning. And this sector can be stabilized; mastery over it can be maintained (it may well be the only one today). All that need be done is to uniformly marginalize any innovation, especially threatening manifestations of rupture. Thus it can be confirmed, curiously, in this fin de siecle, that any social change is finally admitted quite soon, even if it constitutes a break with secular customs, except in the narrative domain. Everything else can “blow”—the atom, the family, ideology—but literary genres must hold! Thus the novelistic still shines today as the enduring quietude of consciences, the glowing repose of the citizen who is buffeted on all other sides and who is frightened. The major media, plus computerization, in the service of generalized literary academicism: this is the burlesque cultural project in which we have been engaged for quite a while. This will function for a certain time. For a long time perhaps, longer than we think. And then, one fine day, the gap will resurface, in broad daylight, in all its violence.
CL: At the end of your essay “French Version,” you signal the need for a new reading, a different way of approaching the kind of texts you and others have written. Can you elaborate further on what specific directions or forms this new reading might take? How could this new kind of reading translate into literary criticism? How does this proposed accent on “le biographique,” on the person of the writer, differ from standard biographical criticism?
CO: When I suggested “new gestures of reading, ones which are attentive to metamorphoses,” at the end of “French Version,” I meant something like this: to place oneself in the movement of the text, that is, in its creative movement, in the same path that the text’s inventor was in the process of opening up, of clearing away, of exploring when he chose his words, cadences, punctuation marks, silences. In other words, to listen to the music of the text attentively enough to perceive its assonances, its resonances, its close or distant rhymes, its allusions, and at the same time the tensions, the differences between the passages that came easily (one can sense it) and those where the phrase nearly broke or hesitated or went off in an unexpected direction (one can sense this, too, in any finished text). Or again: to “get inside the skin” of the author, to adopt his apprehensions, successes, pleasures, doubts. This is the only way to feel the words vibrate fully and to deliver them of all their meaning—their manifest meaning as well as their hidden, yet perceptible meaning. This is not a new attitude, you will say, and that’s true: it holds for any truly organized text. I therefore linked “gestures of reading” to “metamorphoses.” And there I wanted to make reference to two contemporary events of extreme importance: the insistence of psychoanalysis on the play of the signifier, on the one hand, and on the other, the breakdown of European cultural ethnocentrism. There is no time to develop these two points in detail here. I will simply say that all my books, on the whole, call for an opening onto the Other, and this Other is as much the unconscious, the “double,” as it is the Other repressed by European writing for centuries—the Islamic civilization, for example. My books in which this aspect is most manifest are Marrakch Medine and Mon Double a Malacca, both subsequent to Le Jeu d’enfant. But in all of Le Jeu d’enfant the purpose is the same, the aim is identical. These books thus call for readers who will also be open and capable of abandoning, if only for a time, their prejudices and presuppositions-not only those about reading (the “character,” the “story,” pre-Freudian psychology, the taste for tragedy, etc.) but also the ideological ones, that is, all the customary cliches prevalent in the culture. This is not so easy. For example, it is significant that most of the French readers of Marrakch Medine, who claimed to be sensitive to a certain poetic quality of the text, did not, however, feel themselves mobilized by the text’s effort toward Islam; they thus recuperated for themselves, under the iridescent colors of exoticism, all that this book tried to do in order to break down the wall of exoticism and specifically of “orientalism. ” The Moroccan readers, on the other hand, judged the book to be important in this connection.
As for the critic, he is a reader like any other, even if he is overwhelmed by his readings. What I just said is valid for him as well, neither more nor less. A literary criticism applied to these books must exhibit the same openness, the same availability, which clearly requires a rupture with certain modes of behavior, too, imprinted with Eurocentric ideology.
Finally, I think I stressed that “le biographique” in “French Version” is intended as “symbolized,” rather than directly enunciated. This is to say that it is a “biographique” which is filtered and transposed by the author, the “instance” which organizes, chooses, and writes, and which is representative of a place, a period, and of the currents, intersections, practices, feelings, ideas, and voices which make themselves heard there. It is not a “biographique” which simply incorporates events in the life of the citizen who bears the same name as the writer. And these are, really, two distinct characters-another reality that the “media” fiercely deny and repress. This duality is difficult to explain and analyze, and is the source of many misunderstandings. I really should have thought, back then, of taking a pseudonym.
CL: How are other media—radio and film—related to writing fiction for you?
CO: First, allow me an objection: for me, radio and cinema are no more “media” than are language or the book. They are materials, ones that are different from those on which is exercised the writing of a book: sounds, noises, music, spoken or sung dialogues, fixed or mobile images, etc. For several years radio and cinema accompanied the writing of my books: in radio, in the form of “radiophonic pieces” composed at the request of French or German stations and broadcast all over Europe; in cinema, in the form of film critiques published in La Nouvelle Revue francaise, Le Mercure de France, and Les Cahiers du cinema (a selection of these articles was published in 1981 by Gallimard-Cahiers du Cinema as Souvenirs ecran); and also in the form of film scenarios, two of which have been produced. Writing for radio or cinema is something entirely different from writing a text of literary fiction. The former are more social, more sociable activities. I practiced them with pleasure, as a welcome diversion from the absorbing work of writing—even a pleasant recreation. Most of my radio pieces are developments or “enlargements” of the short texts collected in Nebules and Navettes. Having said this, I don’t think that these exercises effected upon composite materials have ever had any influence on my writing. They are different domains. - Interview from The Review of Contemporary Fiction

8/20/15

Katie Holten - Registering this crisis of representation, About Trees considers our relationship with language, landscape, perception, information, systems, time and memory. Holten has created an alphabet from her tree drawings and made a new typeface called Trees.


About Trees
Katie Holten, About Trees, Broken Dimanche Press, 2015.

katieholten.com/

The Anthropocene forces us to revise grammatical categories and experiment with alternative modes of representation within a 'we' of monstrous planetary proportions. It forces the questions: Who speaks, and on behalf of whom? How does the non-human articulate itself, and how do we identify such articulations? – Ida Bencke, Editor, BDP.

Registering this crisis of representation, About Trees considers our relationship with language, landscape, perception, information, systems, time and memory. Holten has created an alphabet from her tree drawings and made a new typeface called Trees.
Texts by Jorge Luis Borges, Andrea Bowers, Inger Christensen, William Corwin, Charles Darwin, Nicole Davi, Tacita Dean, Brian Enquist, Amy Franceschini, Charles Gaines, James Gleick, Fritz Haeg, Amy Harmon, Natalie Jeremijenko, Paul Klee, Eduardo Kohn, Elizabeth Kolbert, Irene Kopelman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ada Lovelace, Robert Macfarlane, E.J. McAdams, Arianna Occhipinti, Katie Paterson, Thomas Princen, Pedro Reyes, Robert Sullivan, Rachel Sussman, Nicola Twilley, Gaia Vince, Aengus Woods, Andrea Zittel and others.

Katie Holten is an Irish artist. She represented Ireland at the 50th Venice Biennale. Solo museum exhibitions include New Orleans Museum of Art (2012); Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane (2010); The Bronx Museum, New York (2009); Nevada Museum of Art, Reno (2008), and Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2007). Committed to social causes, especially as they pertain to environmental issues, Katie is fascinated with the inextricable relationship between man and the natural world in the age of the Anthropocene. She is the artist behind About Trees, the first book in Broken Dimanche Press’s new series Parapoetics: A Literature Beyond the Human.
***
Asymptote: How would you describe About Trees to someone who hasn’t heard of the project?
Katie Holten: About Trees is a book about trees written in trees. It’s a collection of texts about trees, about the notion of trees, and a constellation of tangential tree-related things. Everything is translated into Trees, a new typeface that I made especially for the project. At the core of the book is a Tree Alphabet with trees replacing each of the 26 letters of the standard English/Latin alphabet. These characters were transformed into a font, the typeface called Trees.
The book is limited to an edition of 500 copies. It’s 260 pages deep, stitched, printed throughout using a forest-green spot-color with a hand-painted, lime-green fore-edge. It started out like a collage, a collection of found and mostly ‘recycled’ texts. Some were commissioned especially for the book and others happened along the way during conversations with people. There’s an essay on “Tree Clocks and Climate Change,” a hunt for “Liberty Trees,” and a conversation asking “Why are There no Trees in Paleolithic Cave Drawings?” Trees are a metaphor, a way to filter the enormous, tangential web of information available to us—a way to focus the discussion. Everything is printed in the typeface Walbaum (which has baum, the German word for tree, in its name) and translated into Trees. Each text becomes its own forest.
I think of the book as an archive of human knowledge filtered through branches of thought. It traces a shift in consciousness from anthropocentric thinking to a contemporary realization that our way of life has probably created a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. The book maps the move from Darwin’s “I think,” written beside his sketch of the tree-of-life illustrating human consciousness as the highest step on the evolutionary tree, to Eduardo Kohn’s “How Forests Think,” an anthropology beyond the human. The writings of Bruno Latour and Timothy Morton have been useful for me to understand my own work and current thinking around object-oriented ontology, which puts things at the center of the study of existence.
Page 26 from About Trees, 2015. Tacita Dean's essay "Michael Hamburger" translated into Trees.
Page 26 from About Trees, 2015. Tacita Dean’s essay “Michael Hamburger” translated into Trees.
I’m fascinated by our understanding—and misunderstanding—of the systems around us. Man-made systems, like cities for example, mirror microscopic bacterial colonies. Yet we humans tend to see them (cities, or indeed most man-made things) as being something completely removed and separate from ‘nature’. These colonies, whether fungal, organic, man-made, microscopic, or intergalactic, all mirror each other with similar growth patterns that repeat at different scales. These clustering, branching patterns shape everything from our lungs and neural pathways to cracks in the mud, lightning, river estuaries, evolutionary paths, language development, algorithms, and the Internet. There’s something about trees that’s universal.
The book started out as a small project but grew into something larger, the way things do. Now it feels like an anthology or a compendium. I’ve starting thinking of it as Volume I in a grand—possibly infinite—series of volumes About Trees.
How did you come up with the idea of creating a typeface out of trees?
The Trees typeface has roots reaching back to 2004 when I moved to New York City. I was researching our understanding of ‘nature’ and our relationship with it in the city. The first drawing I made was on a small piece of paper, just a normal 8.5” x 11.5” page. It was of a collection of New York street trees. The trees were drawn quite small and it looked kind of like a letter. A love letter? I’m not sure. But it looked like a letter scrawled in a strange language. I made more and the trees fell into a grid, mirroring perhaps the Manhattan street grid. They were my notes telling the story of my time in NYC—the grid walked that day and the street trees passed along the way.
I’ve worked on lots of other projects since, but over the years people kept contacting me about those tree drawings. I see strangers share them online and they have 200,000+ likes on sites like Pinterest and Tumblr. I don’t know exactly what that means, but the tree drawings have a life of their own. It feels like they exist out there in the ether. They communicate: people respond to them. I’ve always liked the idea of giving things away. So, over the last ten years I’ve often thought: wouldn’t it be nice to make the tree drawings into something that people can access and use themselves. They should be available as prints, tattoos, a font, a typeface. Something ‘tangible’ that people can hold, wear, use, rather than a JPEG or screenshot that’s only available to ‘like’ on a screen. I thought, the tree drawings should actually exist in real life. I can use the trees to communicate and tell a story and people might pay attention because so many seem besotted with them.
A few things came together this winter which led me to revisit the drawings and create the Trees font: I was invited to make new tree drawings for a group exhibition (called About Trees) at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, Switzerland; I’d been wondering if there was a way to make my older tree drawings more accessible to people; I kept thinking about the notion of writing with trees, or using trees to write; and I’d been talking with Broken Dimanche Press about developing a book project. I realized that all these different things—book, drawings, trees, typeface—could come together into one project: About Trees. It was nice to see it crystallize so quickly.
How do trees connect with language?
For me there’s a direct connection between trees and language. In Ireland we have what’s known as Ogham. It’s a medieval alphabet scratched onto standing stones. No one knows for sure how it worked, or what it signified. But growing up I was told that it was some kind of tree alphabet: the marks, or scratches, represented different trees. For example, Beith = “birch” and Dair = “oak.” Somehow these scratched markings relayed messages to people.
Ogham Alphabet: fol. 170r of the Book of Ballymote (1390), the Auraicept na n-Éces explaining the Ogham script.
Ogham Alphabet: fol. 170r of the Book of Ballymote (1390), the Auraicept na n-Éces explaining the Ogham script.
I’ve always been fascinated by language, by systems of knowledge, by archives. I wanted this book About Trees to look at all of that through my own personal, man-made language. The texts look at the world around us, at the ways we’re embedded in—and have affected—the world around us. Elizabeth Kolbert writes about “Islands on Dry Land” and how our species has cut into, and cut through, every wild place. Creating unnatural lines in the landscape—slashing through rainforests, installing pipelines—we are literally changing the shape of the world. Things in the organic world have a way to communicate that seems to work beyond our notion of language. There’s a reason things are the way they are. There’s a reason trees are structured the way they are. Brian Enquist talks about that in his essay “Tree Theory, Biogeography and Branching.” You could say that this natural language is a code that’s been developed over millions of years. It’s beyond us. We’re not sensitive enough to ‘get it.’ To us it’s just indecipherable, messy, nature. Like a newspaper in a foreign language, it’s gobbledygook. From a distance it looks ‘normal’ and readable, but when you get a little closer you see that it’s impenetrable, purely visual. It’s essentially written in code and you don’t have the key.
For a long time I’ve felt that our language is broken. We don’t know what things mean anymore. At least I don’t. What is ‘nature’ exactly? What is ‘environment’? Or ‘landscape’? Or ‘green’? Robert Macfarlane writes in the book about “Branches, Leaves, Roots and Trunks,” about lost words, words that have disappeared from our vocabularies and dictionaries. I wanted to see what would happen if I made my own alphabet, my own typeface, and translated the word/world.
Then of course there’s the tangible connection between trees and language. Language is stored in books, books are made from trees. Anna-Sophie Springer’s essay on “The Library as Idea and Space” doesn’t mention the word ‘tree’ but they’re implicated throughout as she discusses the history of collecting, the library, and ‘the madhouse of books.’
Can you explain the “mechanics” of your typefacedoes one tree represent a letter, or does it represent a word/idea?
It couldn’t be simpler. I drew a tree for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. It’s like a children’s ABC. A is represented by a tree whose name begins with the letter ‘A,’ B is represented by a tree whose name beings with the letter ‘B,’ etc. The Tree Alphabet drawing/print/bookmark is the key to unlocking the code. When I was in Berlin working with the designers and exploring how we were going to use the Trees typeface, we made a set of bookmarks. They were a way for us to test the font while also making something useful (I used the bookmarks as postcards and thank you cards for people who pre-ordered the book). One of the bookmarks depicts the Tree Alphabet and with it you can attempt to translate the book.
The mechanics of creating the typeface was more complicated. I’m technologically challenged, so I needed help. A friend connected me with one of her students, Katie Brown, and luckily for me she was already working on hand-written fonts and was excited to plunge right in. I scanned all my tree drawings and she turned each one into a vector file and then worked on them individually and inserted them into Glyphs, a font-making program. I got the file with the finished typeface—the Trees font—the day I left for Berlin to meet the designers. None of us knew if it was going to work. But it did!
Katie Holten, Bookmark, 2015.
Katie Holten, Bookmark, 2015.
The biggest problem was how to use the font. How exactly should we translate the original texts into Trees? The ‘letters’ in the tree font take up more than four times as much space as letters in a normal font, so 100 pages of English text would translate into over 400 pages of Trees. That could be really interesting, or incredibly boring. Never mind the waste of paper and trees! I spent a lot of time working out different ways to translate each text. I finally decided that each text should be translated into a forest. With short texts it’s possible to see/read each individual tree/letter in the Trees translation, but with the longer texts the trees crowd together forming dense forests of encoded meaning. It becomes literally impossible to translate them. That’s what I’m interested in: the impossibility, the futility of it all. The conventional process by which human, symbolic language runs from thing to idea via word is reversed by translating each text into a cryptic tree-forest. Language is turned back upon itself by (re)turning letters to a pictographic field.
The texts in About Trees range from lyrics by Radiohead to literature by Plato and Ursula K. Le Guin. How did you select the texts for this project?
There are very specific reasons why each text is included. And there are so many more texts that I’d like to include but couldn’t, for all the usual reasons; lack of time, money, space. It really does feel like Volume I of a potentially infinite series.
My initial proposal was for a book with texts by three women. But pretty quickly I realized that I wanted to have a wider selection, mirroring how we’re bombarded by information all day, every day. So there are contributions ranging from super-short (a one-word poem), to short (an Instagram post, the title of a novel, Le Guin’s “The Word for World is Forest”), to one-page meditations and longer essays.
There are a few key texts for me: things that I had to include in the book in order to anchor it. These include Nicole Davi’s essay on “Tree Clocks and Climate Change,” Aengus Wood’s essay on the Ogham alphabet and my conversation with Conny Olsson from Arctic Paper Munkedal, the paper mill where the paper for the book is sourced.
Another important text appears three times in the book; at the beginning, middle and end. It’s a sentence from Jorge Luis Borges’s short story “Funes el memorioso.” Each iteration is a different translation, so each time you read the sentence it’s the same, but not.  
Ida Bencke’s text was the very last thing to be added, literally as the book was going to print. The last thing we worked on was the cover and suddenly we needed an image for the dust jacket. I wanted to include a forest, but I didn’t want to repeat a text/forest that was already in the book. Ida had written a short text “About About Trees” to contextualize my book within the Parapoetics project that she’s curating for BDP. My book doesn’t include an introduction or a foreword or anything at all to explain it. I prefer to let things be themselves and exist on their own terms, without me putting words/thoughts in the reader’s head. But I thought that Ida’s text, translated into Trees on the cover, could work as the introduction. It’s a forest, indecipherable as a text. No one can actually read it. It mightn’t even look like writing. You can’t see the wood/word for the trees. We placed the English translation (i.e.: the original text that Ida wrote), on the inside flaps, typeset in Walbaum like the rest of the book. So, anyone who opens and engages with the book can read her text and understand that the forest on the cover is actually a text, translated into trees.
What experience are you hoping readers will gain from rediscovering these texts with your new typeface?
I hope the book provides an opportunity to (re)discover these writings. I also hope readers can consider their relationship with language, landscape, and perception. For me, the Trees typeface is a way to examine my own relationship with information, knowledge, time, memory, and my place as a human on this planet in the Anthropocene.
I would like the book to affect, even just a little bit, how people read the world. I feel that as a species we’ve convinced ourselves that our version of reality is right, that what we do is right. I fear it’s not. We’ve used language to twist the meaning of things.
The contributors provide a wealth of knowledge and material. I’m like a gleaner, but instead of picking blackberries from a hedgerow or collecting empty bottles from trashcans, I’m gathering words. So much valuable material exists out there in the world, but gets overlooked and forgotten in the data overload. I wanted to include something by James Gleick, as his writing about science and knowledge was so important to me growing up. I ended up including an article he wrote on Benoît Mandelbrot. I hope some readers, if they haven’t already, will take the time to read his book The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, a book about everything. I hope that my book About Trees is the tip of an iceberg that leads readers on a journey through all these amazing, existing works.
“The past is a foreign country,” one of the contributors wrote to me in an email. I think the present is also a foreign country, and we have yet to learn the language. By bringing together a disparate group of texts, I wanted to try and understand our present. Translating everything into a new, indecipherable language makes it obvious how little we know. -

Monographs
2007
VAN HORN zeigt Katie Holten, VAN HORN Press / Revolver, Düsseldorf, Germany
Katie Holten: Paths of Desire, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Missouri, USA
2002
Katie Holten and others, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin, Ireland

Articles, Interviews, Reviews (selection)
2014
Katie Holten and Mariateresa Sartori,
by William Corwin in The Brooklyn Rail, June 2014
Katie Holten and Sarah Sze in conversation,
in Linea, May 2014
Linea,
interview with Greg Mania in Creem, May 2014
Katie Holten,
by Timotheus Vermeulen in FRIEZE D/E, March 2014
2013
Katie Holten,
by Andrea Gyorody on ARTFORUM.com, December 2013
Ten Years Later,
conversation with Valerie Connor in Visual Artists News Sheet, Sep/Oct 2013
Interview with Katie Holten,
by gReenO, January 2013
2012
Nothing From Nothing,
by Katie Holten in Making The Geologic Now, published December by Punctum Books
500 Words,
by Katie Holten on ARTFORUM.com, July 3, 2012
Finding in Sunlight A Sound and A Taste,
by Susan Hodara in The New York Times, June 24, 2012
Irish Artist Katie Holten's Edgy Landscape Drawings at NOMA
, by Doug MacCash in The Times-Picayune, June 15, 2012
Full Spectrum: A Light and Landscape Exhibition at Storm King Art Center
, by Robert Sullivan in VOGUE, May14, 2012
Ebb and Flow
, by Katie Holten in The Visual Artists' News Sheet, May/June 2012
2011
Trees and the Bronx, by Robert Sullivan in A Public Space, Issue 13, Summer 2011
Why Twenty Deserves its Personal Touch, by Aidan Dunne in The Irish Times, June 9, 2011
2010
New York State of Mind, by Tony Ozuna in The Prague Post, September 22, 2010Versuch, die Welt zu retten, by Christiane Hoffmans in Welt am Sonntag, July 18, 2010
Interview, with Kathleen Madden in un. issue 4.1, Summer 2010
A Paved Paradise with Trees, by Ginger Strand in ORION, May/June 2010 and here
Katie Holten, by Maeve Connolly in Artforum, April 2010Lore and Ore, by Jackson McDade in ArtSlant, March 2010
10 Years of the AIB Prize, by Frances Ruane in Irish Arts Review, Spring 2010
Katie Holten, by Jane Harris in Art in America, February 2010
Where the trees tell the Bronx tales, by Belinda McKeon in The Irish Times, January 22, 2010
2009
Tree Museum, How does art respond to and redefine the natural world? by Katie Holten on Art21, December 10, 2009
Dial-A-Tree, Talk of the Town by Ian Frazier in The New Yorker, July 20, 2009
Hear The Trees Talk, by Damon Beres and photos by David Handschuh in NY Daily News, June 23, 2009
The Tree Museum, by Nicola Twilley in BLDG BLOG, June 21, 2009A Museum of Trees That Speak of History, by Jim Dwyer in The New York Times, New York, June 7, 2009The Shadows of Trees, by Katja Behrens in Compilation IV, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, June 2009
Turning Over a New Leaf, by Rachel Wolff in ARTnews, New York, April 2009
‘Trees Tell 100 Bronx Tales’, by Emily Hulme, in AM New York, June 19, p.27
‘The Bronx Turns into Interactive Museum’, by Amy Zimmer, in METRO, June 15, p.4
‘The Tree Museum on the Grand Concourse’, by Jessica Gross, in Time Out New York
‘Art in Late Summer’, by Emily Warner, in BOMBLOG, August 14
‘Tree Museum’, by Kara Rota, in Irish Central, August
2008
Confronting the Planet: An Interview with Katie Holten, by Matthias Merkel Hess in MAMMUT, Los Angeles, Fall 2008
Katie Holten: uprooted, by Tim Maul in CIRCA, Dublin, Summer 2008
Unearthly Delights, by Beth E. Wilson in Chronogram, Philadelphia, June 2008
‘Out on a Limb’, by Richard Roth, in Friday Independent, June 20, pp.21-36
‘Implant’, by Ingrid Chu, in Time Out New York, Aug 28 – Sep 3, p.108
'Flora! Flora! Flora! It's Plants as Muse in a Big Group Show at a Manhattan Bank', by Leslie Camhi, in Village Voice, September 3
2007
Katie Holten, by Noemi Smolik in ARTFORUM, New York, October 2007
Replica of Uprooted Tree Speaks to Environmental Crisis, by David Bonetti in St. Louis Post Dispatch, St. Louis, May 2007
Paths of Desire, by Lia Gangitano. Published in Paths of Desire, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, May 2007
2005
Trans Atlantic’, by Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, in Fulbright exhibition catalogue, Dublin, p.9
2006
A Discussion of Substance, a conversation between Sally O'Reilly and Katie Holten. Published in GRAN BAZAAR, Mexico City, 2006
Recycled Art for Sale, by Caroline McKinnon in El Universal, Mexico City, June 2006
"Best of 2006" by Elizabeth Schambelan in ARTFORUM, New York, December 2006
LAMENT with Martha McDonald, by A.D. Amorosi in Philadelphia City Paper, Philadelphia, July 2006
CLUSTER, By Michael Wang in ARTFORUM, New York, February 2006
2004
Katie Holten's Work Unplugged, By Regina Gleeson. Published in Visual Artists' News Sheet, Dublin, January 2004
Regina Gleeson, ‘Globalisation's Impact on Art Practice’ in CIRCA 108, Dublin, summer, pp.61-63
Gemma Tipton, ‘Irish Art in Europe’ in Irish Arts Review, Dublin, special EU Presidency issue
2003
Ireland at the Venice Biennale, By Joy Garnett. Published in NEWSGRIST, New York, June 2003
Venice Biennale: Katie Holten, By Fiona Kearney. Published in CIRCA Magazine, Dublin, Autumn 2003
Cristin Leach, ‘Katie Holten’ in The Sunday Times, Culture Section, Irish Edition, 26.10.03, p.14
Marcia E. Vetrocq, ‘Venice Biennale’ in Art in America, September issue, pp.77-87
Waldemar Januszczak, ‘Venetian Bind’, in The Sunday Times, Culture sect, 22.06.03, pp.6-7
Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, ‘Katie Holten’, in Irish Arts Review, Dublin, summer issue, pp.54-55
Silvio Keller, ‘Katie Holten’, in DU, April issue; Venice Biennale supplement, Zurich, no.735, p.17
Aidan Dunne, ‘Katie Holten’, in The Irish Times, Dublin, 26.04.03, p.6
2002
Katie Holten at Temple Bar Gallery, By Catherine Lyons. Published in CIRCA Magazine, Dublin, Winter 2002
Related Matters, by Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith. Published in Katie Holten and others, Dublin, September 2002
2001
‘Up the Garden Path’, by Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith, in in Context, Derry, pp.2-3
‘Katie Holten’, by Max Andrews, in Contemporary Visual Arts, London, issue 34, p.87



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